As a member of the Fair Trade Federation we follow the following guiding principles:
- Paying a fair wage in the local context.
We provide fair wages to the women’s co-op that are well above the minimum wage. The women also have access to a number of social services provided at the co-op such as:
- Trainings on topics ranging from HIV/AIDS to health clinics
- Creche -a center for babies and young toddlers to receive day care
- Balwadi for tutoring young children
- Education sponsorship program
- Social programs and events
- Building long-term trade relationships
Contrary to traditional traders, we are committed to working with the co-op to place regular and consistent orders. As Marigold grows we are able increase these orders each year and provide opportunities for more women. In 2007, 35 new women joined the co-op through the training center. It is our customers who make this possible!!
- Engaging in environmentally sustainable practices
We are committed to using vegetable based/azo free dyes. Our fabrics are hand block printed, preserving an age-old artisan tradition. We also use organic cotton in our line. At our WA office we conduct sales trips to our retail customers in a biodiesel vehicle, fueled by homemade biodiesel from grease from local restaurants collected right here in Olympia. Our catalogs are printed on FSC certified paper.
- Technical training and assistance
Marigold works as a cultural broker bringing the trends of the north American market to the co-op for product design and feedback. Trainings are also conducted by the co-op on marketing, sales and product development.
- Offering employees opportunities for advancement
Women who finish the training program join autonomously run work groups where they have the opportunity to eventually become one of the coordinators each work group elects to help coordinate production. One example is Rosie who has been with the co-op since its inception. Rosie moved from learning to sew and embroider, to coordinating the training center, to being a quality checker and working on marketing.
- Providing equal opportunities for all people, particularly the most disadvantaged
The women from the co-op are coming from situations of extreme poverty. Many have been widowed, face situations of domestic abuse or alcoholism. The work at the co-op provides vital income to the women and helps them to transform their lives. Click here to listen to one of the interviews of the women who speak about how working at the co-op has impacted their lives.
- Being open to public accountability
Marigold values transparency and accountability in our business practices. All of the women in the co-op meet bi-annually for a general assembly meeting to discuss issues that face the entire co-op. It is the women who are at the head of the co-op model.
- Safe working conditions